By Bukola Olasanmi
A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the interim forfeiture of two properties in Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Justice Mohammed Liman made the order following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC).
The EFCC, through its counsel Nnaemeka Omewa, said it was seeking an order of interim forfeiture because the properties located at 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area, were allegedly acquired through “proceeds of unlawful activities”.
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Part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC included “An order of this honourable court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity”.
The commission alleged that while serving as Kwara State Governor, Saraki withdrew over N12 billion cash from the state’s account and paid same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama.
Granting the application, Justice Liman, ordered interim forfeiture of the two properties.
He also instructed that the EFCC should publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days, for anyone with interest in the properties to show cause, why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had arraigned Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) while he was the nation’s number three citizen.
He was accused of failing to declare his assets, an allegation he denied, alleging that he was being witch-hunted.
The Supreme Court subsequently dismissed the false assets declaration trial.